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Monday 11 September 2023

Miskatonic Monday #215: Last Threads of Sanity

Between October 2003 and October 2013, Chaosium, Inc. published a series of books for Call of Cthulhu under the Miskatonic University Library Association brand. Whether a sourcebook, scenario, anthology, or campaign, each was a showcase for their authors—amateur rather than professional, but fans of Call of Cthulhu nonetheless—to put forward their ideas and share with others. The programme was notable for having launched the writing careers of several authors, but for every Cthulhu InvictusThe PastoresPrimal StateRipples from Carcosa, and Halloween Horror, there was Five Go Mad in EgyptReturn of the RipperRise of the DeadRise of the Dead II: The Raid, and more...

The Miskatonic University Library Association brand is no more, alas, but what we have in its stead is the Miskatonic Repository, based on the same format as the DM’s Guild for Dungeons & Dragons. It is thus, “...a new way for creators to publish and distribute their own original Call of Cthulhu content including scenarios, settings, spells and more…” To support the endeavours of their creators, Chaosium has provided templates and art packs, both free to use, so that the resulting releases can look and feel as professional as possible. To support the efforts of these contributors, Miskatonic Monday is an occasional series of reviews which will in turn examine an item drawn from the depths of the Miskatonic Repository.

Publisher: Chaosium, Inc.
Author: Joel Kumpulainen

Setting: Jazz Age Vermont... and beyond
Product: Scenario
What You Get: Twenty-eight page, 4.35 MB Full Colour PDF

Elevator Pitch: Inside Out meets H.P. Lovecraft meets Marathon Man
Plot Hook: What horrors drove you to the asylum and where are they now?
Plot Support: Staging advice, two NPCs, and three 
Mythos monsters.
Production Values: Tidy

# Sanity is front and centre
# Cleverly structured plot
# Investigation explored from the end, not the beginning

# Sanity is front and centre
# Mechanically underwritten NPCs
# Needs a slight edit
# Initial set-up is more toolkit than scenario
# No Maps
# No pre-generated Investigators
# Linear, if back and forth, plot
# Misses the obvious reveal of the unreality

# Cleverly structured plot explores a post-sanity experience
# Innovative, if experimental, scenario shifts the viewpoint of the traditional Call of Cthulhu investigation

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